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You know the old saying: Christmas comes earlier every year. A new addendum: So does Black Friday. What was once a late November event evolved into a most-of-November deal-fest, and now it's practically its own season.
Case in point: Amazon just announced a roster of "Black Friday-worthy deals," and while these may not be quite the high-profile discounts we can expect after Turkey Day, there are definitely some discounts you'll want to see.
Below I've rounded up five I consider especially good. And there's something to keep in mind: Holiday shoppers are likely to encounter product shortages, shipping delays and higher prices. So if you see something gift-worthy, it's probably smart to jump on it now. The early bird gets the deal — and the on-time delivery.
Before you get started, make sure you're signed up for Amazon Prime so you can score free two-day shipping. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)
Also, take note that some of these deals are available today only — and could sell out before the clock hits midnight.
Catan board game: $30 (save $25)
A modern classic, Catan (formerly known as Settlers of Catan) is a superb board game for 3-4 players. It lists for $55 and normally sells for around $44; this is the lowest price in nearly a year.
And check out the ratings: 4.8 stars from over 19,000 buyers. You can count me among its fans as well; a typical game lasts about an hour, great if you want something that won't consume your entire evening (I'm looking at you, Monopoly).
Apple AirPods with Charging Case: $109 (save $50)
Actually, all AirPods are on sale right now (Beats, too), including the AirPods Pro for $179. But I'm calling out the baseline AirPods for a couple reasons. First, $109 is one of the lowest prices on record; you might see them dip briefly to $99 on Black Friday, but this is still $50 off the regular price.
What's more, not everyone likes the feeling of silicone ear tips nestled inside their ear canals, which is how AirPods Pro and roughly 98% of all other earbuds work.
These hard-plastic AirPods just kind of rest in there, yet still deliver very impressive sound. They're not sweat-proof and they don't cancel outside noise, but those aren't crucial features for everyone. Similarly, a wireless charging case is a nice option (and only $20 more right now), but not essential.
JBL Clip 4 portable speaker: $55 (save $25)
JBL makes some excellent portable speakers, and the Clip 4 is one of the latest and greatest. True to its name, it features a built-in carabiner-style clip, meaning you can easily attach it to a purse, backpack or whatever. Right now you can get it in your choice of black, blue or gray for $55, the lowest price in the product's history. (Pro tip: If you have Amazon's Prime Rewards Visa card, you'll get 10% cash back instead of the usual 5%. That brings your net cost to just below $50.)
The Clip 4 may be small, but it manages to deliver pretty big sound, as evidenced by the 4.7-star average score from over 3,500 buyers. It employs USB-C for charging (woot!) and can play for up to 10 hours. It's also waterproof and dustproof, so bring on the elements!
Beats Studio3 over-the-ear headphones: $170 (save $180)
If you prefer audio hardware that covers your ears rather than venturing inside them, consider Beats' wildly popular Studio3 headphones. This is the lowest price on record and a significant savings.
The Studio3 features active noise-canceling (ANC) and Apple's W1 chip, which promises easier pairing and fewer drop-outs than with Bluetooth alone. (Android device owners can still use them, just without the W1 benefits.)
Beats promises up to 22 hours of listening on a charge and a whopping three hours of playtime with just 10 minutes of charging — nice if you're running out the door and realize you've got a dead Beats battery.
I haven't tried the Studio3 myself, but reviews tell an important story: Over 4,700 Amazon buyers rated it 4.7 stars on average.
Sony X80J 75-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV: $1,098 (save $402)
If you want a big TV but aren't comfortable with budget brands like Hisense and TCL, here's your chance to score the lowest price to date on Sony's super-luxe 75-inch KD75X80J model, which is new for 2021.
The X80J offers all the desirable bells and whistles, including HDR and Dolby Vision. Its "smarts" come courtesy of integrated Google TV, which affords access to all the major streaming services. But here's an interesting surprise: The TV also supports Amazon Alexa, so if you have something like an Echo Dot in your house, you can ask it to turn on the Sony, change channels and so on.
This huge screen earned a 4.6-star average rating from well over 800 buyers, meaning you're sure to like it and quite likely to love it.
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